Re: virus: Multiple meanings of faith

Eric Boyd (
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 14:27:55 -0500


Reed Konsler <>:

The process certainly has purpose, it grinds out better and better models. That works really well in some circumstances, and it creates very complex language.

But, Eric, we are seldom talking about what "we" mean and are so often talking about what "they" mean. Other people don't know our definitions. You have to learn to translate on-the-fly if you are going to understand what they mean. We ought to be practicing things which allow us to do this more effectively. Creating a formal system will draw this group together and separate us from the rest of common discourse. I think that is counterproductive.

Well, clearly we have different objectives. I am seeking an understanding of faith and it's place in human belief systems. As it stands, we have one word meaning an entire multitude of things, and until we begin to seperate out the meanings and find when each is used, etc, we are going to be hopelessly confused. Eventually, it would be nice to relate the differing meanings to each other, and find out why one word has come to take on so much. (I suspect the equivocation has proven quite useful to proponents of religion). Finally, a good system of deciding what meaning is intended when (which is what you want us to "practice") would also emerge from the analysis.

You are quite right that creating such a formal system will seperate us from the rest of common discourse, but I contend that until we understand the word at that level, we are seperated anyway. (or at least I am)